Diarrhea is characterized by at least three loose, watery stools within a 24-hour period. It can be caused by an acute illness or chronic disease. The symptoms of diarrhea are unpleasant, and prolonged or severe bouts of this condition can also be dangerous and lead to dehydration. Treating diarrhea naturally may help alleviate some of the symptoms of this condition. Contact your health care provider if diarrhea lasts longer than a couple days.
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A diet consisting of bananas, plain rice, applesauce and toast, also known as a BRAT diet, has long been touted as a home remedy for treating diarrhea. The BRAT diet consists of binding foods that may help firm stools and also includes bananas as a high-potassium food to help replace the electrolytes lost due to diarrhea. Other bland foods that may help with diarrhea include boiled potatoes, dry crackers, steamed carrots and baked, skinless chicken.
Perhaps the most important treatment of diarrhea involves the replacement of fluids lost to help prevent dehydration. To prevent this, drink plenty of clear liquids such as sports drinks with electrolytes to replace any fluids lost, but avoid gulping large volumes of water at once. Ice pops, broth and gelatin are other clear liquids that will help replace fluids. Avoid alcohol and fruit juices, as the sugar content of the juice may aggravate diarrhea. Some people also report having a better tolerance with warm liquids rather than ice-cold or hot fluids.
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine and high-fat, greasy foods can aggravate the symptoms of diarrhea. Avoid caffeinated coffee, sodas and chocolate during episodes of loose stools. Choose low-fat foods to help lessen symptoms, and avoid deep-fried foods and creamy sauces. If you have lactose intolerance, avoiding dairy and other high-lactose foods may also help alleviate some symptoms.
Diarrhea caused by antibiotics may improve with the addition of yogurt to your diet. Because antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, replacing the good bacteria with yogurt that contains active, live cultures may help prevent or improve diarrhea symptoms.